Diversity and Ecology of Fungi in Mofettes
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Mofettes are extreme environments with ongoing exhalations of ambient temperature geological CO2, which results in relatively constant changes in concentrations of soil gases, in particular CO2 and O2, affecting mofette life. Different aspects in microbial ecology have been studied at several mofette sites, with the majority of the existent studies focusing on soil prokaryotes, while much less work has been done on fungi. Only two groups of fungi have been investigated in mofettes thus far, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, forming arbuscular mycorrhiza, the ubiquitous and ancient symbiosis with plants, and soil and water yeasts. All existent studies clearly show that specific microbial communities form in mofette sites and that they are often abundant in adapted taxa, which can also be described as new to science in some cases (e.g. a new yeast species Occultifur mephitis has been described from the Slovenian mofettes). Therefore, mofette fields can be a rich source of information on how organisms, their populations and communities cope with long-term environmental pressures in their natural habitats. This indicates the potential of mofette systems to serve as natural long-term experimental models in the study of slower ecological and evolutionary processes and in the investigation of the specificity of mofette food webs and ecological networks. In addition, other applications of these systems are being identified, as mofettes serving as models for environmental impact assessments in the case of CO2 leakage from carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems, and research into mofettes being natural reservoirs of potentially hypoxia-tolerant fungal pathogens.
KeywordsArbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Elevated CO2 Fungal pathogens Hypoxia Soil biodiversity Yeasts
This work was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) projects J4-5526, J4-7052 and programme P4-0085. We gratefully acknowledge all of the support given.
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